The Best X-Men Relationships
'Age of X-Man' writers Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson list their favorite mutant bonds for Valentine's Day!
Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, writers of AGE OF X-MAN: ALPHA #1 and AGE OF X-MAN: THE MARVELOUS X-MEN #1, know a thing or two about building teams and romantic relationships across the pages of X-Men comics. And as mega X-fans themselves, they have quite a few opinions on the matter of mutant romance and friendship.
So, just in time for Valentine's Day, we sat down with Lonnie and Zac to chat about their favorite X-Men couples! We also managed to uncover who they ship and who has the best bond in all of mighty Marvel mutantdom...
Favorite Mutant Couples
Lonnie Nadler: I thought about this one for a while and I think I have to go with Psylocke and Angel. Aside from his affluent upbringing, I feel like Warren has had it rough since joining the X-Men and he’s always one step away from being a literal embodiment of death. Despite the fact that he looks like a messenger from above, he’s a truly tragic character and Betsy is one of the only good things he’s ever had in his adult life. The fact that she helps him keep his darker half at bay is a perfect metaphor for what relationships have the power to do. If you find the right partner, they have the ability to quell the evils that dwell within.
Zac Thompson: I’m going to have to go with Wolverine and Jean. I think there’s a lot about that relationship that makes it great. I know they’re not technically a couple but there’s something incredibly appealing about that undeniable tension. Perhaps it’s just me dreaming of AGE OF APOCALYPSE, but I really find myself wondering what things would be like if they got together. He was by her side when she died back in 2004 and that’s gotta mean something…right?
Who Do You Ship?
Nadler: I honestly only learned what “ship” meant like two weeks ago and I was embarrassingly confused by the concept. The wonders of the internet taught me well though. I think I’ll always ship Colossus and Kitty. Dani Moonstar and Nate Grey are a close second but they don’t have nearly the same amount of history.
Thompson: I definitely ship Shatterstar and Rictor. I love their relationship. Even if it had to develop almost entirely off panel. We all remember that one kiss. They’re the power couple I keep coming back to in the X-universe. I just need more of them together, now.
Nadler: Xavier and Magneto, no question about it. They’re so similar and yet so different. Who better to spend their life trying to take you and your ideals down than your best friend? It’s this kind of melodrama that really appeals to me about the X-Men. It’s two people fighting for the same thing but going about it in completely different ways. Everyone wishes they would set aside their differences, but with the stubbornness of old age, they’ve made that impossible.
Thompson: Cable and Deadpool. There’s a certain amount of magic to that pairing that is undeniable. The two characters work remarkably well solo but together they help balance out each other’s crazy. Their relationship opens up certain aspects you’d never see in both, it deepens Deadpool while taking Cable less seriously. I think we all know that deep down they need each other to get %&*! done. Reading their adventures together just makes sense. They provide endless internal conflict for one another.
Best Bond in the Mutant-verse
Nadler: Nature Girl and Krakoa. Seriously, that needs to be an ongoing title.
Thompson: Cable and the timestream. There’s no other mutant who understands time like Cable. Considering how much the X-Men time travel, that pretty much makes him the only one capable of understanding the continuity.
Nadler: It was never a pairing I thought I’d care for, but I loved Wolverine and Deadpool working together on Rick Remender’s UNCANNY X-FORCE run. It was proof that Deadpool isn’t all jokes all the time, and Logan is one of the few people who can bring out Wade’s tremendous skillset on the field.
Thompson: Cable and Blaquesmith. I love the relationship they share so much. It’s so weird to see Cable as an older man getting scolded like he’s some sort of time-lost child by Blaquesmith. There’s something wonderful about their bond that made Cable’s early adventures feel incredibly important and part of some larger tapestry of change within the timestream of the Marvel Universe. I don’t know where Blaquesmith is now, but stab my eyes, we need him back.
Nadler: I have to go with Cyclops and Jean for this one. They gave up so much and did it selflessly in an attempt to give Cable the best upbringing possible despite the depressing circumstances. Over the past year, I’ve come to love THE ADVENTURES OF CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX because of the way it depicts parenthood for mutants. It’s horribly sad and yet through their child they find hope. And to see Cable imparting the same knowledge on his own daughter just warms my heart.
Thompson: I can only really echo Lonnie here. When researching our run on Cable, we really fell in love with ‘ol Slym and Redd. (That’s Scott and Jean for those of you who haven’t read THE ADVENTURES OF CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX.) There’s something undeniable about their chemistry and it’s so clear that they truly wanted to teach their son how to make the world a better place.
Nadler: Magik and Colossus. One of the first books Zac and I ever pitched to Marvel was a sibling team up between Piotr and Illyana. It was about them embracing their relationship and going back to Russia to explore their roots and bury some pasts ghosts. We still desperately want to tell that story someday so I won’t say much more. On the surface they seem so different from one another, but underneath it all, they are clearly cut from the same cloth.
Thompson: While I want to give the same answer as Lonnie, I’ll go with my second favorite: Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. These wonder twins are so overwhelmingly fascinating because of their legacy as mutants and further history as Inhumans. I’m always going to be of the mind that Magneto is their father because it gave us so many incredible stories. I’m a huge fan of HOUSE OF M and really believe that Wanda and Pietro have many more stories together. I’d like to explore their bond with Magneto a little further...
Favorite Student-Teacher Bond
Nadler: Xavier and Cyclops just because it’s so toxic and yet it’s undeniable that they’ve each learned a tremendous amount from one another. It’s set up in such a pure way, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say, and I think Xavier pushed his protégé a bit too hard too many times. I’m still hoping they can figure out a way to mend the wounds, but only time will tell.
Thompson: I’m going to go with Xorn and his special class. Watching Xorn struggle to teach these misfit students feels so pure. Even when they mock him, you can’t help but feel his struggle. I know he turned out to be terrible in the end, and some of those students got killed…but reading it was a wild ride. No one was expecting the special class to become so important.
Favorite Chosen Family
Nadler: Hope and Cable. On paper, Cable should be a terrible dad but that little girl gave him a new lease on life. It’s a showing of pure love and how you don’t need to be bound by blood to have a familial bond.
Another favorite is Wolverine and...everybody. He’s got this lone wolf mentality but even he can’t deny that he’s found a family with the X-Men.
Thompson: I can’t deny that I love Hope and Cable. That relationship really helped Cable move in a completely new direction and in my opinion was the best thing for Nathan in his 30-odd years of publishing history. Beyond Cable and Hope, I really love X-Man, Scott, and Jean. Since he’s not technically their son, it works so well with the X-Men metaphor of found family. While we don’t see much of them interacting, there were a few times in the ‘90s that felt like they were trying something different with how Scott and Jean approached Nate. I think we all wish we could go back to that simpler time now.
Nadler: Laura and Logan. Do I even need to explain this one?
Thompson: Fantomex and anyone. We really need more Fantomex.
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